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Bright and Brief

August 24, 1987

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) _ It wasn’t your typical ribbon-cutting ceremony at Cobb County’s new $12 million jail.

Several members of the County Commission and assorted other politicians, businessmen and members of the news media paid $25 for the privilege of spending Saturday night locked up in Navy blue prison uniforms.

The event was intended to give the jail’s staff a practice run on procedures at the jail, which should get its first real inmates in a couple of weeks.

″This will be a wedding anniversary I’ll never forget,″ said County Commissioner Thea Powell, who observed the occasion from one cell while her husband, George Powell, passed it in another.

Members of the gang of hardened law-abiders were fingerprinted, photographed, handcuffed and led to their cells. Guards in central control towers electronically opened and closed the cell doors from a master panel.

Chief Magistrate Jim Bodiford summarily declared the entire group guilty of ″unlawful surveillance″ of the detention center and fined them $25 each, payable to the charity of their choice.

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CHICAGO (AP) - What goes on at the annual Balloon and Singing Telegram Convention? Do you really need to ask?

While a cash shortfall punctured hopes for a balloon sculpture contest and slammed the door on the singing telegram competitors, it failed to deflate enthusiasm as about 250 conventioneers gathered Sunday for earnest discussions on marketing, balloon design and rubber quality.

″You want a strong latex with outdoor (balloon) displays because it gets weakened by the ultraviolet rays of the sun,″ said John McGrath, owner of Silver Rainbow Co., a Hayward, Calif.-based balloon company, and a co- organizer of the 3rd annual convention.

Conventioneers’ activities included filling balloons with helium or air and debated the merits of both. Air, it turns out, lasts longer.

As for singing telegrams, Katherine Hay of Montgomery, Ala., said one should listen for ″cleverness in jokes and execution, and not necessarily a good singing voice.″

″The main thing is, can they get a response out of a group of serious people? Can they improvise?″

Representatives of 150 companies, three foreign countries, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands paid $200 apiece to attend the conference, McGrath said.

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TELLURIDE, Colo. (AP) - Summer festivals are known for purveying everything from pottery to peanuts. In Telluride, Colo., the hot item is ideas.

At the Telluride Ideas Festival, 250 participants met over the weekend in saloons and cafes to create a ″marketplace of ideas″ through three days of seminars, poetry readings and other events cost $175 plus food and lodging.

″It seems like a lot of money just to sit around and talk,″ said waitress Judie Hanks, 27. ″But everyone seems to be enjoying it.″

This year’s main topic was glasnost, the Soviet policy of increased openness in social and political affairs.

Five Soviets were among the group of ″citizen diplomats″ who met for panel discussions. Frieda Luria, a Soviet translator of American writers, told the audience that citizen exchanges are among the best ways to lessen East- West tensions.

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